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Stop 'separatist actions': China tells Dalai Lama
Anil K Joseph in Beijing | August 26, 2008 16:28 IST
Annoyed by his high-profile visit to France [Images], China on Tuesday asked the Dalai Lama [Images] to stop his 'separatist' activities and take concrete action for future talks on the vexed Tibet [Images] issue.
"We still hope that the Dalai Lama will stop his separatist activities and in his late years, make more contributions to the development of Tibet and his motherland," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said while commenting on the legendary Tibetan leader's recent visit to France, including his meeting with French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
He said China's policy on the Tibet issue was consistent and clear-cut. "The door for talks and contact with the Dalai side is always open," he said, adding that it is "imperative for the Dalai side to take concrete actions to create favourable conditions for talks and contacts."
"As to the specific question (on future round of talks), please refer to competent authorities," he said at a regular Foreign Ministry briefing.
Asked to comment on reports that the Dalai Lama had claimed that some 140 Tibetan protesters were killed recently in police firing in Garze, a Tibetan-majority town in southwest China's Sichuan province near the border with Tibet, Qin rejected the reports.
"There are always contradictions between his words and I suggest you ask him to present evidence to show the number of casualties," the spokesman told a French reporter.
During his visit to France last week, the Dalai Lama had denounced Chinese repression in Tibet when he met French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. President Nicolas Sarkozy had declined to meet the Dalai Lama to avoid 'serious consequences' to bilateral relations with China.
Sarkozy had instead deputed his socialite wife, Carla, to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet and of fomenting unrest to sabotage the 2008 Olympic Games. But the 1989 Nobel Peace prizewinner insists he wants autonomy and religious freedom and not independence for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama was quoted as saying by Le Monde that at least 400 Tibetans had been killed in the Himalayan region around the Tibetan capital Lhasa since March, and 10,000 had been imprisoned in secret locations.
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